Sunday, October 12, 2008

Self-Marginalization: The Unregistered African American Voter

By Bro. Dr. Gerald Folsom

Caught in the somber roads and disillusioned rules of the pre-1965 “deep South” in America, I hear the cries. Mixed in the overpopulated and close proximities of the government housing projects of the pre-1965 “promised-land of the North” in America, I hear the cries. It’s the cries of generations preceding us; confessing to America that African Americans are citizens and with that citizenship comes the right to vote. Then, a celebratory excursion, the 1965 Voting Rights Act landed upon America and America could no longer legally be the same. Our grandmothers and grandfathers, our mothers and fathers, and our people had been given the power of the ballot box.

As time has moved immensely into the 21st century, African Americans have come to make up approximately 16.4 million voters. Celebrate, maybe not? There continues to be approximately 7.5 million African Americans eligible and not registered to vote. Self-marginalization? From the local, state, and national levels, the power of the ballot box is the vessel we use to spread our voices. This vessel must remain open at all times and never closed. We, as African Americans, have a solemn obligation not to close this vessel leading to our own self-marginalization.

Gamma Pi Chapter has taken up the mantle of keeping this vessel open. Under the leadership of Bro. Mel McCottry, Gamma Pi has spent countless hours at malls, grocery stores, sports and learning facilities, and other places living out Omega’s cardinal principle of Uplift. Uplift will move a community from self-marginalization to vitality and vibrancy. Gamma Pi Chapter can stake claim to registering thousands of people in the Prince Georges County, Maryland area by conducting continuous “non-partisan” voter registration in conjunction with the local NAACP. This is a step toward freeing up a small portion of the unregistered African Americans in this country.

Throughout the thunder, lightning, wind, and rain; Gamma Pi Chapter has provided a model of Uplift in one local community. The marginalized are reclaiming their voices. The vessel still remains open and the ballot box is still our mouthpiece. We can not turn back to those somber roads of the South nor those overpopulated communities of the North. Our truth must keep marching onward!

No comments:

Post a Comment